Sean Gartland is a teacher at heart. A trained chef, cooking school operator and director of Flint Food Works at the Flint Farmers' Market, Gartland's passion for teaching fills his soul.
Gartland offered an opportunity for 15 teens from areas schools to attend a six-session cooking and nutritional education course in the Flint Food Works Kitchens at the Flint Farmers' Market. Gartland taught students how to make healthy decisions in their daily meals, as well as in their weekly shopping routine. Each student took a homework assignment away from class that included a recipe and the ingredients to make it.
In addition to the weekly assigned cooking segments, the students received a turkey for Thanksgiving, and instructions on how to cook it with their family.
"Each week the students were challenged to think outside of the box and as a group, come up with solutions to healthy versus non-healthy recipes and ingredients," Gartland said. "At the end of the course each student received $50 in gift certificates to shop at the Farmers' Market, as well as the professional knife used in the course."
During one session, students created their own chili recipe. They visited with market vendors, selected their own ingredients, chopped, mixed and cooked their very own chili. One session was devoted to dairy and another taught the art of making noodles. Through it all, the class reinforced the Flint Farmers' Market as a focal point for accessing healthy food.
The program was made possible through a $10,000 grant from the American Dairy Association of Michigan awarded to the Community Foundation.
"One of the most powerful ways to bring healthy food into the home is through the empowerment and excitement of young people. The program enables young people to purchase ingredients to take home and prepare for their families."